According to Goswami (1995) "whenever we ask if there is some other kind of reality beyond the material reality, we are putting material realism on the spot. Similarly, a genuine discontinuity points to a transcendent order of reality and thus a breakdown of material realism" (p. 138). What follows wrote itself. I didn't have much to do with it. What started as an idea in a classroom environment must have continued developing without my being aware of it. Maybe a dream contributed to its development, I don't know. Furthermore, quantum phenomenology would probably be a better description of what follows than quantum physics/mechanics. Though this does suggest a transcendent order of reality, it doesn't necessarily point to a breakdown of material realism.

I got off work at six o'clock in the evening, went home and sifted through my mail, listened to my phone messages, then went to a restaurant for dinner. As I was waiting in line to pay my bill, the man in front of me turned around to leave and we made eye contact. "Wow, is that really you?" We had not seen each other in 25 years. We stepped outside, and after a few minutes of small talk, he asked if I wanted to hang out for a while and catch up. I said yes. He told me that he was supposed to meet someone at a local bar, and his business would only take a short while. Considering my length of sobriety, I didn't think it would be too risky to go with him and chat for a while. Nuncest bibendum--now is the time to drink. Three hours later, after ten years of sobriety, we were still in the bar and I was well on my way to getting drunk. We also did some drugs together like we did so many years before. On the way to my house to sleep it off, the police pulled us over--the last thing I remember was being fingerprinted.

I then woke up in a cold sweat and in a state of panic. "Did that really happen?" I asked myself.

Yes, it did happen. I met Jon in the restaurant one day, but we went our separate ways after exchanging phone numbers and a few minutes of small talk outside of the restaurant. Maybe he went to the bar. I don't know. I went back home, however, and resumed working on a paper I started a couple nights earlier. So, how could it have happened if I went home? Folger (September, 2001) quotes Deutsch as saying that "we have every possible option we've ever encountered acted out somewhere in some universe by at least one of our other selves" (p. 39).

Without going into how Deutsch and other physicists arrive at this conclusion, I will say that, like a particle in quantum mechanics, we too can be in more than one place at a time. "Under normal circumstances," says Deutsch, "we never encounter the multiple realities of quantum mechanics. We certainly aren't aware of what our other selves are doing" (p. 40). Well, maybe we aren't, but maybe we are. Was I not dreaming about drinking and using with Jon? Why couldn't the dream be an awareness of my other self? So which is it? Is it two me's in multiple universes, or one me having a dream? Maybe it is both. Maybe it's what Freud considered a wish fulfillment, or maybe the dream was having me-- rather than the other way around. Maybe I was observing my other universe through dream. Let's put these maybes' on hold for now and come back to them later.

There are people who remember me as a quondam drug addict since the mid sixties. Over the years prior to recovery, through reputation, their image of me has been reinforced by my scandalous behavior. This also goes for my old friend, Jon, for he too has been a hedonistic, immutable career drug and alcohol addict. I have no reason to believe that he is any different now than he was when we ran together years ago. When Jon and I were talking outside of the restaurant, I told him that I have been clean and sober for twelve years and am presently working on a Ph.D. He looked at me quizzically, smiled and said, "yeah, right."

Goswami (1995) tells the story about a student who taught a frog to jump: Frog, jump, and the frog jumped. The student cut off one of the frog's legs and said: frog, jump, and the frog jumped. He cut off a second leg: frog, jump, and the frog jumped. The same thing happened after cutting off the third leg. When the student cut off the last leg, the frog did not jump. After a moment's thought, the student wrote: After losing all four legs, the frog loses its hearing (p. 219). The same goes with Jon's thinking when it concerns me. If I had shown him my doctoral degree, he would have asked "that's nice, who printed it for you?" If I had introduced him to one of my professors, he would have considered it a conspiracy. If I had shown him my transcripts, he would have shrugged his shoulders and said "computer generated, so what?" Jon would have to personally observe me for quite awhile before he would be convinced that my recovery, much less my level of education, existed. I find the frog parable synonymous to the quantum object that doesn't exist until it is observed.

As it turned out, Jon and I stayed in contact and had lunch together periodically. He had just moved back to town when I saw him at the restaurant. A couple months later, after he had talked with mutual friends from our pasts, and then seeing my name in the Barstow College schedule as a psychology instructor, he finally came to believe what I told him was true.

We were having lunch one day and he asked how I did it. "I've tried a hundred times to clean up," he said, "and I can never do it."

I said, "Jon, did you know that an electron can move from one place to another without having traversed the intervening space?"

He just looked at me shaking his head. He wasn't impressed a bit. "So what! Is this the way educated people answer simple fucking questions?"

I laughed, then I told him that I recovered in a residential substance abuse education program when I was in prison. Without going through the entire process that I explained to Jon, I'll just say that when I left prison, I was certain that I wasn't going to drink or use anymore. I then explained to Jon that between the time I entered the program and my release from prison, I had recovered. I don't recall at what point this happened. In fact, I remember very little of that intervening space of time--similar to the intervening space that the electron traveled through that I mentioned earlier. I explained to Jon that I could not have done it on my own.

The vagabond that he is, Jon didn't stay in town very much longer. We both grew up here, so we kept in touch. I would go for long periods of time, sometimes years, before I would hear from him again. He always had a reason for his reticence: "I went back to prison for a while," or "I got involved with a woman," or "I was on the lam." He had been drinking and using for forty years or more. Most people do not believe that he will ever get sober, including me.

About six months ago I got off work at six o'clock in the evening, went home and sifted through my mail, listened to my phone messages, then went to a restaurant for dinner. As I was waiting in line to pay my bill, the man in front of me turned around to leave and we made eye contact. "Wow, is that really you?" We had not seen each other in years. He said, "I've been clean and sober for two years, John."

I looked at him quizzically and said, "yeah, right"! Jon was non compos mentis--not of a sound mind. He was an ignominious liar and a con and had been one for most of his life. Some people are just hopeless. When Roland H. called Jung and wanted to be treated again for his alcoholism, Jung told him that his situation was hopeless. The only hope, Jung told him, was if he were the subject of a spiritual experience.

Jon smirked and said, "John, did you know that a manifestation of one quantum object, caused by our observation, simultaneously influences its correlated twin object--no matter how far apart they are?"

"Oh, so now you're clean and sober and you're a quantum physicist? Do you have any proof?" Ironically, I had to meet someone in a bar that day, so I invited Jon to come along. We made small talk and asked about mutual friends, etc., then I asked him if he wanted a drink. He said, "No, John! I told you--I am clean and sober."

I smiled and told him I was just kidding. Then I asked him how he did it. He told me that even though he and I wasn't associating with each other for the last several years, that that doesn't mean I wasn't still influencing him from-a-distance. Denny explains that "proponents of Era III medicine focus upon the nonlocal, action at-a-distance qualities of quantum particles as providing a rationale with which to support the theory that healing can occur between individuals at-a-distance" (Denny, in press). Jon then said, "John, you and I can be thought of as twin quantum objects--cut from the same mold, you might say--John and Jon. And it doesn't matter where I have been. You have definitely been influencing me."

Then I woke up. I laid there for a while, thinking of Jon and hoping that he was okay. As I was getting out of bed, the telephone rang. Bad news: it was one of Jon's friends calling to inform me that Jon was killed in a car accident the night before last. After talking with my friend's friend, I also found out, to my utter amazement, that Jon had been clean and sober for two years. I was flabbergasted. What a pyrrhic victory over addiction.

Von Franz (1992) wrote that "what Jung calls contingence [synchronicity] refers to an accidental but meaningful coming together of an outer and an inner event. He had observed that individuals chiefly experience such coincidence when an archetype is especially intensively constellated in their unconscious" (p. 186). Was my dream a caveat? I had been feeling squirrelly (12- step jargon) lately, entertaining thoughts of hedone--like an orgy with the lovely Aphrodite and the blissful Morpheus. The street-like rebellious puer within had been rearing his flighty head. Was I not dreaming about Jon being clean and sober for two years? So which is it? Synchronicity, or Jon influencing me at-a- distance? Maybe it's both. Maybe it's some kind of paradoxical, wish fulfillment, or maybe the dream was having me--rather than the other way around.

Deutsch (September, 2001) shares that "even after someone dies, other copies of him might remain alive somewhere in the multiverse"(p.41); therefore, maybe we can continue to influence each other in the netherworld of dreams whether we are dead or alive.


Whereas John and Jon are real people, none of the above events really happened. One statement in particular, however, is true: I have not seen Jon in more than 25 years. Whether there can be anything said positivistically concerning the quantum phenomenology of the above myth, I couldn't say. We, together with atomic physicists and the rest of the positivists, do know however, that a quantum particle can (1) be in two places at once,(2) doesn't exist until it is observed,(3) moves from one place to another without traversing the intervening space, and (4) can influence other particles at a distance.


Denny, Mike. (in press). Walking the quantum talk. Institute of Noetic Sciences Review.

Folger, Tim. (2001, September). Quantum Shmantum. Discover, 37-43.

Goswami, Amit. (1995). The self-aware universe: How consciousness creates the material world. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1988). Psyche and matter. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Author's Bio: 

After 40 arrests, five formal probations, four country jail sentences, and a prison term (as a result of chemical dependency), I turned my life around. I was released from prison in Dec 1989, and have been clean and sober since. I started at Barstow College in Feb 1990. Received my AA degree in '92 from Barstow College in Barstow, CA; BA in '94 from Chapman University in Orange CA; MHS in 98 from National University in San Diego CA, and finished with a Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA in Feb 2004. I have taught as an adjunct instructor for Park University and Barstow College. I can be contacted through my website Quantum Recovery or directly to my email account